Street Parties and Street Theater

How to start a street party

1 Get together with some like-minded people. Possibly your friends. Work on a plan of action. Sort out different roles, jobs and time scales. Imagine. What's possible?

2 Decide on a date. Give yourselves enough time. Not too much - a "deadline" is a great motivator - but enough to sort the practicals: materials, construction etc. You may need money.

3 Choose the location. Your street, the town center, a busy road or roundabout, a motorway! A separate meeting place is good: people like a mystery, bureaucrats don't.

4 Publicize! Word of mouth, leaflets, posters, e-mail, carrier pigeon. Make sure everyone knows where and when to meet. Posters and paste go well on walls, billboards and phone boxes. Leaflet shops, clubs, pubs - everyone, and your mum.

5 Sort out your sound system. A party needs music - rave, plugged-in, acoustic, yodelling - go for diversity. Invite jugglers and clowns, poets, prophets and performers of all kinds. Ask campaign groups to come along and set up a stall in the middle of the road.

6 How will you transform the space? Huge banners with a message of your choice, colorful murals, bouncy castle, a ton of sand and a paddling pool for the kids, carpets, armchairs. The materials and money from earlier may come in useful here. Print up an explanation for this "collective daydream" to give to participants and passersby on the day.

7 For opening the street - or rather stopping it being re-closed by the traffic – ribbons and scissors are not enough. A large scaffold tripod structure with a person suspended from the top has been found useful. Practice in your local park. Blocking the road with a car that can then be dismantled is nice. Even the traditional "barricade" will do.

8 Rescue some young trees from the road of your local "development" and have them ready for planting. You may need a pneumatic drill and safety goggles for the last bit.

9 Have a street party! Enjoy the clean air and colorful surroundings, the conversation and the community Bring out the free food, dance, laugh and set off the fire hydrants. Some boys in blue may get irate. Calm them down with clear instructions.

10 At least a couple of the boys in blue will fail to get the point and nick people - six is generally the minimum to convince their paymasters it was worth all that overtime. Of course you found a lawyer who understands about street protests and distributed a bust card with their number, a phone number to collect details of arrestees, and basic advice - the Release bust card is a good basis in the UK. Make sure someone stays awake, alert and near that phone to take messages, gather names, and organize a defendants' meeting a week or two later. Get together with even more like-minded friends and plan the next one. Organize in your community, workplace, school & street.

[From "Reclaim the Streets: How to sort a street party"]


<<Back to Organizing and Action
<<Back to Table of Contents